Page 2: Aims
The insurance industry has traditionally been associated with the generation of paper documentation, such as policies, quotations and claims. The main problem is that this information is only accessible to a limited number of employees at the same time, in a particular part of the organisation and that it takes up considerable space. Accessing and using the information is not particularly easy and takes up a considerable amount of staff time.
Discussions within Independent Insurance focused on how to provide solutions to the generation, maintenance and handling of information, in a way which would improve efficiency and help provide better customer service. The broad aim was to use technology to create a paperless office.
In a paperless business, all information, such as post coming in to the organisation, is scanned electronically and then routed through the computer system to the person responsible for that work. Although many innovative organisations have already introduced such practices, decisions were made at Independent Insurance to revolutionise the way paper was handled by all underwriting and claims teams.
The creation of a paperless business environment would introduce two major changes affecting everybody within Independent Insurance. For the first time, electronic files would be accessible to everyone anywhere in the business and all of the work within underwriting and claims would be automated.
A considerable amount of planning has to take place before introducing a new communications system in order to establish how the system can provide solutions for the needs of those working within the organisation. Any information system is made up of the following:
- Computer hardware - the equipment, such as terminals and keyboards, that is used to gather, enter and store data and then to process data into usable information.
- Computer software - provides the programs that are used to operate the hardware and to produce information.
- Data stored in databases - the data stored will depend on the information needs of the organisation.
- People - operate and use the system.
- Procedures - the rules, instructions and methods for operating the information system.
- Systems development is a procedure used to design and develop a new information system. It involves looking at each part of the organisation and examining how all the users can fit together and support each other.